Smart TechnoCart – a mobile digital laboratory donated to public schools to help develop literacy among kindergarten students – won the Social Contribution Award at the prestigious World Communication Awards (WCA) ceremony held last Nov. 29 in London.
Organized annually by London-based industry publication Total Telecom, the WCA recognizes outstanding performance by carriers, multimedia content providers, vendors, and other communication service providers all over the world.
In winning the WCA award, the Smart TechnoCart program beat shortlisted entries from Orange, Telin, and Turk Telkom. Judges commended the TechnoCart for “extending literacy in an engaging fashion.”
The TechnoCart, developed by Smart Communications, is a 2ft x 2ft cart containing 20 student tablets and a laptop, projector, and mobile WiFi for the teacher. The tablets are preloaded with the Batibot mobile application, the first educational app for kids in Filipino which is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.
Through the Batibot app, kids learn how to write letters correctly by tracing. The app also features children’s stories that highlight values; songs that kids can sing along to; and games teaching students how to spot the different object among a group of items, as well as how to match and sort objects consecutively.
Since it launched the program in June 2015, Smart has distributed TechnoCarts to 30 public schools from as far as Pangasinan in the North and Tawi-Tawi in the South. Seventeen of these units were donated by Smart, while the rest were sponsored by its employees, other individuals, and organizations wanting to help spread the benefits of digital learning to more public schools.
Because the TechnoCart can be easily wheeled from one classroom to the next, each unit can reach up to 20 kindergarten classes or 250 students per day.
“The Smart TechnoCart introduces public school kindergarten classes to the learning benefits offered by tablets and relevant digital content. It is part of the Smart Communities program – the company’s suite of initiatives to use technology for the development of various sectors of society,” said Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino.
“Since we launched the TechnoCart program last year, we have received a lot of positive feedback from teachers. They say their students’ skills have significantly improved, and that they have become more eager to learn,” she added.
“During our first grading lecture, my children were not really interested in reading letters and they didn’t even participate in our daily activities. Only a few of them could identify the letters or the numbers. But when the TechnoCart arrived they improved a lot. They really enjoy tracing letters using the Batibot app, and I am surprised they can now easily identify the letters,” said kindergarten teacher Hja. Shaiha A. Irahani of Datu Halun Laboratory School in Tawi-Tawi.
Orlino invited prospective sponsors to get more TechnoCarts rolling. For more information, they may email TechnoCart@smart.com.ph or visit learnsmart.ph